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    Posted November 19, 2014 by
    ByHandMedia
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    Queens, New York
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    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Photo essays: Your stories in pictures

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    Kuroshi Kai Kan Annual Recognition Awards

     

    See more of my photos from this event on CNN at these links:
    - Gallery 1
    - Gallery 2
    - Gallery 3

     

    See the entire photo gallery from the Kuroshi Kai Kan Annual Recognition Awards on my photo blog at www.byhandpics.com.

     

    I recently had the opportunity to attend Soke Haisan Kaleak’s Annual Kuroshi Kai Kan Martial Arts Recognition Awards. The event took place at the Radisson Hotel JFK in Jamaica, New York. You might think that because this was a martial arts awards ceremony that it strictly paid tribute to the best competitors in a particular competition. However, while there were martial arts training seminars prior to the awards banquet this past weekend, Kuroshi Kai Kan’s Recognition Awards actually celebrates individuals that participate in activities that improve the lives of those within their communities.

     

    Some of Kuroshi Kai Kan’s community programs include clothing & canned food drives, an Ambassador Fund that donates goods to assist families abroad, and the Boys to Men Affair, which helps young men learn how to deal with life’s many challenges.

     

    This year’s Honorees included Grandmaster Eddie Lamar, Grandmaster Bahiy Muhammad, Shihan Errol Bennett, Sensei Eric Coleman, Sensei Paul Sequence Ferguson and Shihan Luis Aviles. The event also recognized many others, including the late O’Sensei Ronald Duncan and Sister Betty Powell, who has been described as “a fighter for just causes.” The night also included a stand-up comedy performance and a demonstration by two young students, who showcased kata and a display of the bo staff.

     

    The lineage of the members of Kuroshi Kai Kan date back to legends in competition martial arts, including Dr. Moses Powell, Professor Florendo M. Visitacion, a.k.a. Professor Vee, Soke Little John Davis, and others. Yet, while it is an organization steeped in tradition, it acknowledges a changing world, one filled with communities that need to search from within to grow and move forward.

     

    I think the slogan on the Kuroshi Kai Kan banner at the event - “Martial Arts Evolution” - is appropriate. The evolution of modern American martial arts traces back to men who interacted with world cultures in such environments as the military, bringing their knowledge back to their communities and - finding a lack of opportunities - put their knowledge to work by founding schools in major cities throughout the U.S. Additionally, during the Second Great Migration, African Americans ventured from Southern states into Northern, Mid-Western and Western states for work, where failing city services left harsh, sometimes dangerous conditions that forced people to search for ways to protect and defend themselves. They were met by new immigrants from Asia, who themselves were immigrating into the same large cities. Later, film imports from Asia exposed then-exotic forms of fighting that inspired inner city dwellers to mimic what they witnessed on-screen. And now the martial arts seems to be evolving yet again and Kuroshi Kai Kan focuses on traditional ideals of honor, community and brotherhood, with an understanding of the many life goals that the martial arts can help an individual to acheive. Today’s traditional martial arts schools continue to instill a value system, along with training, and the men and women I had the pleasure of meeting Saturday are a fine example of the results.

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